May challenges Brexit ‘doomsayers’ with optimism

‘Theresa May will today say that Britain can “prove the doomsayers wrong” and that she is “optimistic” that Brexit negotiations will succeed. As Parliament returns the Prime Minister will update MPs on the progress made since her speech in Florence, Italy, in which she made a series of significant concessions. Britain is offering to pay the EU €20billion during a two-year transition period after Brexit and has also given an unqualified commitment to defence and security co-operation. The Prime Minister will say that “the ball is in their court” in a clear signal that she is not prepared to make any further concessions ahead of a European summit later this month.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • The EU thinks she is on the ropes, but she fights to win – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun
  • Danish finance minister accuses Brussels of ‘playing a game’ and urges a speedy compromise – Daily Telegraph
  • Germany insists on the sequencing of talks – FT
  • She plans to reshuffle after seeing off Shapps’s ‘Poundland Macbeth’ coup attempt – The Sun
  • Who are the potential new faces? – The Sun
  • The Prime Minister must stand up to Boeing – Owen Smith, The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Nearly nine in ten Party members say Britain must be able to sign trade deals during any Brexit deal implementation period.

>Yesterday: WATCH: Raab – Preparations for No Deal are in place

Johnson ‘would refuse to go’ if sacked

‘Boris Johnson will “just say no” if Theresa May tries to demote him, his allies have said as they warned sacking him as Foreign Secretary would undermine Brexit and destabilise the Government. The Prime Minister is instead being urged by members of her Cabinet to sack Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, for “making Brexit hard” and being “miserable”. Mrs May indicated that Mr Johnson could be moved into another Cabinet role in a reshuffle at the end of the month, saying that she would not “hide from a challenge”. Her comments prompted a furious response from Mr Johnson’s backers, with one Tory minister saying that there is a “stench of death” emanating from Downing Street….One ally said that removing Mr Johnson as Foreign Secretary would go down “like a bucket of cold sick” with Brexit voters amid concerns that key Cabinet roles are dominated by Remain campaigners. Even a minister who is critical of Mr Johnson’s recent interventions told The Telegraph that removing him would “undermine public confidence in Brexit”.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • It could be him or Hammond – The Sun
  • Gove demands instant withdrawal from the Common Fisheries Policy – The Times
  • Davidson might move South – The Times


Jenkin: The Treasury takes the EU’s side

‘Treasury officials are briefing that we must stay in the customs union for the interim period. They insist we must continue to pay billions of pounds to subsidise other EU states, while we must accept “full regulatory and judicial oversight”, which means we would have to submit to any new European court rulings and new directives and regulations without any say over those new laws. Worst of all, matters are already being decided between the UK and the EU, such as on the dividing of tariff-rate quotas for imports from non-EU countries (for instance, on New Zealand lamb) the joint presentation of which could hobble the UK’s ability to make meaningful trade deals with non-EU countries into the future. That is why the US and other nations have challenged the UK and the EU on this, saying they “cannot accept” this unilateral splitting of tariff-rate quotas without the EU and the UK negotiating separately with all the countries concerned. The Treasury seems unable to hear any voices except those that reinforce their preconceptions.’ – Bernard Jenkin, The Guardian

Universal Credit rebellion grows

‘More than 25 Tory MPs are now prepared to rebel over the Government’s flagship welfare reforms amid mounting calls for a “pause” in the roll-out of Universal Credit. David Gauke, the Work and Pensions Secretary, last week tried to broker a truce with MPs by insisting that a system of advance payments was already in place to help those struggling when they change systems. Despite the move, Sir John Major, the former Tory Prime Minister, described the system on Sunday as “operationally messy, socially unfair and unforgiving”…The Tory rebels will meet in Westminster today to discuss their next move. The backbench revolt, which has been spurred on by Sir John’s intervention, risks wiping out the Tories’ majority in the Commons if Labour forces a vote on the issue.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • OAPs fear for their homes as mortgage interest welfare comes to an end – The Sun
  • Benefits changes will mean half a million more are classed as living in poverty – The Times
  • The Conservatives’ reputation for competence is in danger – Clare Foges, The Times

Raab announces new cybercrime court

‘A new state-of-the-art court to tackle cyber crime and fraud in the financial sector is to open in the City of London. Ministers say the court will enhance Britain’s reputation as a country where banking and finance is underpinned by the rule of law, and help the authorities tackle the growing menace of computer crime. The City of London Corporation will on Monday announce plans for the court to be based in the Square Mile. The specially built court, which is still in the planning stage, is expected to be built within walking distance of the Royal Courts of Justice, the Rolls Building and the Old Bailey. Dominic Raab, the Justice Minister, said: “This new flagship court will build on UK legal services’ unique comparative advantage, by leading the drive to tackle fraud and crack down on cyber-crime. By reinforcing the City’s world-leading reputation as the number one place to do business and resolve disputes, it’s a terrific advert for post-Brexit Britain.”’ – Daily Telegraph

The average age of a Conservative Party member is 57

‘Tories are 57 years old on average and more than two-fifths of them are over 65. Kippers have an even more venerable profile, with more than half of them entitled to draw their state pension…SNP members are not as well educated as their “progressive” rivals, Labour and the Greens but all three boast younger memberships than the Tories and Ukip. Only 29 per cent of Labour members, 25 per cent of SNP members and 17 per cent of Greens are over 65. Unsurprisingly, the Tories and (especially) Ukip can call on proportionately fewer members under the age of 50 so the widely-reported Tory angst regarding the future of their activist base is not unfounded.’ – Paul Webb, The Times

>Today: Nicky Morgan’s column: Party members are fed up with being sidelined. And six other lessons from Manchester.

Littlewood: The SNP should demand greater devolution

‘SNP delegates shouldn’t spend too much time crying into their Irn-Bru. Although their ultimate goal of leaving the Union after a second referendum is now some years off, they should reflect that a substantial number of economic and electoral trends are on their side. In particular, increasing antipathy towards centralised, detached bureaucracies. If the SNP focuses on pressing for increased devolution, with independence as the culmination of this process rather than the trigger for it, it has a compelling case to make…Scottish Nationalists can point to economic theory, as well as substantial empirical evidence, to argue that a big transfer of powers away from Westminster to the nations and regions of the UK could be a win-win arrangement.’ – Mark Littlewood, The Times

Mental health support for the Armed Forces to be improved

‘The Armed Forces and their families will be given new mental health training to deal with military life under an initiative between the Ministry of Defence and the young Royals. The venture will see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry expand their campaigning against the stigma of mental illness to provide advice and information for the Forces. Soldiers, sailors and airmen will be encouraged to take their mental health as seriously as their physical fitness. New training and support will also be rolled out across defence to reservists, veterans and civil servants. Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, will say that the military must be “as serious about improving mental health as we are our combat skills and cutting-edge technology”.’ – Daily Telegraph

Criminals deliberately seek to get locked up in order to deal drugs

‘Prisoners are deliberately getting themselves recalled to jail to smuggle drugs and other contraband to inmates, a watchdog report has warned. Inmates about to be freed are “manipulated” by gangs on jail wings into committing minor breaches of the terms of their release to be returned to prison for short periods. They then come back with small amounts of drugs, particularly so-called legal highs, which can be sold at a huge profit to prisoners. The number of offenders recalled to prison has risen since February 2015 when supervision on release was introduced for offenders serving less than 12 months as part of a drive to reduce reoffending. Until then they had been released without supervision.’ – The Times

  • The prison service fails to protect the public or reform inmates – The Times Leader

Trump claims to have invented the word ‘fake’

‘The media is really, the word, I think one of the greatest of all times I’ve come up with is fake,’ Trump said, crediting himself with inventing either the word or the term. The word has been around since the end of the 19th century, while even ‘fake news’ was referenced in newspapers in the 1890s, according to CNN. That was news to Trump. ‘Guess other people have used it, perhaps, over the years, but I’ve never noticed it,’ the president said. On Tuesday, Trump took his first trip to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. Prior to the trip, Trump made headlines by publicly battling with the mayor of San Juan, who he suggested was calling attention and being ‘nasty’ about the problematic recovery efforts because she planned to run for governor of the U.S. territory in 2020.’ – Daily Mail

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